Three of the oldest Humboldt’s Penguins
Mildred, Gladys and Spneb, are believed to be the oldest Humboldt’s Penguins in the UK. All are 33 years old in 2021 and live at Paradise Park in Cornwall, UK.
Keeper Kirsty Snoxall explains “In the wild these penguins are known to live to between 15 to 20 years of age, but in captivity it can be much longer. We do believe Mildred, Gladys and Spneb are three of the oldest on record all reaching 33 years old this year. Caring for elderly birds and animals is all part of a Keeper’s job. Many of the issues that can crop up in old age are very similar to humans, like cataracts and joint pain, all of which receive treatments and medications plus a lot of TLC. ”
Mildred (affectionately call Millie by the staff) was the first one to reach the ripe old age of 33 on 1st April. She was a favourite with the visitors as she used to take part at the ‘Penguin Photocall’. But we had to retire her from the photocalls when her eyesight started to let her down. She developed cataracts in both eyes back in 2014 and now has very little sight, but she finds her way around the pool just fine although we do hand feed her a majority of the time.
She is still laying eggs but has not had chicks for a few years now.
Spneb’s name (a fun one to try and pronounce!) is a fusion of the two types of medication she was on during some intense treatment back in 2007 when she developed a fungal disease called Aspergillosis. It took 4 months to treat, but apart from some minor scaring to her lungs she recovered very well. She reached 33 on the 16th April.
She loves to have a fuss from the Keepers.
Turns 33 in June this year. Some visitors comment on the penguin with a long beak, and this is Gladys. A few of the penguins get an occasional beak trim to keep it neat, symmetrical and functional but hers needs more attention than any other penguin.
She has another quirk – back in 2010 an air sac on her neck became enlarged and now her head can tilt to one side a little but she copes with this very well.
All three penguins live with the group at the centre of Paradise Park. The enclosure has a doughnut-shaped pool where they can get up a good swimming speed. There is a bridge to the central island and huts to one side where the pairs set up nests together. A webcam means that you can see the penguins going about their lives each day. Please click HERE to view.
Learn more about Humboldt’s Penguins HERE